As you compare gas furnace prices, you will notice that furnaces of the same size can differ significantly in price. How can one 100,000 Btu furnace cost $1,200 and another one cost $2,500? This guide explains the differences you see as you shop for the right gas furnace for your home. We look at the key factors affecting gas furnace costs. Then you’ll understand the differences you find in our latest gas furnace price reviews.
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Gas Furnace Size
Also known as capacity, this measures how much heat the furnace can create, measured in Btu’s. The range for residential furnaces on the market today is about 45,000 Btu to 150,000 Btu. A load calculation will determine the right size for your home. Furnaces come in increments of 15,000 Btu to 25,000 Btu, depending on the model. For example, the Amana AMH80 gas furnace is produced in these capacities: 45,000 Btu, 70,000 Btu, 90,000 Btu, 115,000 But and 140,000 Btu. The larger capacity the furnace is, the more it will cost. However, other factors affect cost more than size does.
Gas Furnace Efficiency
Furnace efficiency is a measurement of how effectively the furnace uses the heat it creates. Today’s gas furnaces range from 80% to 98% efficient. An 80% efficient furnace loses 20% of the heat it creates out the flue, while 80% of it is transferred through the heat exchanger and enters your home. Furnaces with efficiency of 90% and higher use a secondary heat exchanger to transfer more of the heat from the combustion gases.
The more efficient a furnace is, all else being equal, the more it will cost. For example, consider the 80% efficient Amana AMH80 and the 95% efficient AMH95. They are the exact same furnace except for their efficiency. In terms of price, a 90,000 Btu Amana AMH80 costs about $800 while a 90,000 Btu Amana AMH95 costs about $1,400, or 75% more.
Gas Furnace Performance Features
Basic furnaces have single-stage blowers and single-speed or blowers. Models with 2-stage or modulating burners and variable-speed blowers cost significantly more. The performance features have several benefits. The furnace runs at low capacity most of the time to deliver more even, gentle heating. The furnace is quieter when running on low. A variable-speed blower will help remove humidity from your home when working with a central air conditioner.
These comfort features can significantly raise the cost of a furnace. For example, consider 2 Trane furnaces, both 120,000 Btu models. The 95% efficient Trane XC95 2-stage, variable-speed furnace costs $3,250. The 95% efficient Trane XR95 single-stage furnace costs $1,800. The price difference is 80%.
Keep in mind that more efficient furnaces cost more but they reduce energy use and utility bills. In our example above, the 95% efficient furnace costs $600 more than the 80% furnace. It uses roughly 15% less fuel over the course of a heating season. If you spend $1,000 in a typical winter to heat your home, you’ll save $150 with the higher efficiency furnace. In just 4 years (4x$150) the $600 will be paid back and you’ll be enjoying real savings every year beyond.
The higher cost for better performance doesn’t have a payback period – it’s simply a matter of personal choice whether or not you’re willing to pay for the comfort features. As you compare HVAC prices on our site, this guide will help you understand why gas furnace prices vary so much from one model to another.